jusummerhayes

Who am I?

Photo by John Fowler on Unsplash
Photo by John Fowler on Unsplash

In self-inquiry circles, this is normally the jumping-off point:

Who am I?

Speaking personally, though, I never stopped to ask that question until I was given a not-very-gentle reminder that I was mortal!

And I went deep — very deep.

My name.

My job.

My history.

My senses.

My dumbfoundedness.

I really couldn't say, absent all the bloody labels, who I was at the deepest, most profound level.

For a while (quite some time, actually), I was ensnared in a trap of my own making: it felt the harder I pursued the question, the less I knew and that was (let's just say) unsettling.

There wasn't an ah-ha moment — i.e. my moment of liberation 🤣 — but it slowly dawned on me, much like the Zen practice of using koans to unlock the left-brain, thinking self, that there wasn't meant to be a discrete answer. 

Or at least that's my interpretation of where I now find myself; namely, I'm no more and no less part of everything I experience and trying to put a label on my I-amness is much like what Alan Watts said: 

“Trying to define yourself is like trying to bite your own teeth.”

I could end things there — I've given it careful thought — but I will say this. Not a single day goes by where, either online or in-person, I don't hear a variety of the self-inquiry question writ large: "Who the bloody hell am I?" Previously, I'd have jumped in and offered my opinion. No more. Why? For starters, I don't feel comfortable projecting my experience on to someone else. Secondly, given that everyone is expressed the way they're expressed, I don't feel that me saying anything is likely, over the long term, to make any difference. And, lastly, whilst I can point to a few things that might be of interest apropos understanding the import of this question, I don't feel qualified qua coach or whatever other label is appropriate to arrogantly think I can help someone wake up (very often) from their thought-induced torpor, not realising perhaps that they're already awake.

I realise this leaves me in limbo, particularly given I've a website that gives the opposite impression — not very smart, eh! But the thing is, there's a big part of me that would like to shut the whole online enterprise down, disappear completely and just do my thing — whatever that then is (writing, poetry and art most likely). As yet, I've not cut the Gordian knot but since returning to the legal fold and assuming I don't run away again (I'd like to practice in a very different way in case that's not clear from my previous writing), I can see how I can carve out a living without having to offer all that other consulting and coaching stuff that was my bread and butter for almost a decade. 

What am I really trying to say?

I struggle with the idea of being anything other than me — all body, mind and spirit. I do what I do because I've no choice; and I love it. Not always, but enough to keep me occupied and spiritually nourished for the rest of my natural life. Would I like to help others with the interminable fight to answer the above question? Yes, but not perhaps in the traditional teacher/student (or whatever labels you're comfortable with) pedagogy. How then? I don't know. Seriously, I don't know. Perhaps my words might help — or not. Perhaps speaking publicly. But then again, I feel I've had my turn and it's for others to now hold the space. Or perhaps in my monologues. But then again, isn't there more than enough material to fill several guru-laden oceans of spiritual knowledge? I think so.

As you can tell, I'm a bit at sea in articulating my shtick. 

Perhaps I don't have one or not one that anyone need know about beyond what I share here and on my blog. 

Something else for me to ruminate on 🤔.

That's it for today. 

Have a good one.

I'm off with me bestie, Alfie. He's fast asleep right now; he doesn't like these early starts.

Take care.

Much love, Ju

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